Steve Stricker of
Edgerton watches his tee shot on hole No. 9 on Friday
during the second-round of the U.S. Open Championship at
Erin Hills in the town of Erin.
John Ehlke/Daily News
OF ERIN — The first U.S. Open to be played in Wisconsin
will have two of its own play through the weekend.
Edgerton native Steve Stricker and Mequon’s Jordan
Niebrugge each finished the first 36 holes of the 117th
U.S. Open Championship at Erin Hills at 1-over, barely
making the cut for the final two rounds.
cut line for the top 60 players, plus ties, was 1-over.
was looking forward to playing well here and obviously
making the cut is fine, it’s great,” Niebrugge said.
“But if Saturday is ‘Moving Day,’ and (I’m) looking for
a great couple rounds and getting things rolling
tomorrow.” Stricker said, “I made a lot of nice putts
today, and I hit a lot of good putts.”
Stricker and Niebrugge each shot even-par 72 on Friday
to follow their 1-over 73s on Thursday.
golfers admitted it meant a lot to just make the U.S.
Open because it was in their home state. It was just as
important to make the cut, too. These last two weeks
have been full of excitement for Stricker, a 12-time PGA
started with him winning his U.S. Open sectional
qualifier June 5 to get to Erin Hills. Since he arrived
at the course, he’s been overwhelmed with the support
from the fans as he plays in his first U.S. Open since
2014, and about two hours from his hometown.
Stricker and Niebrugge acknowledged while it’s great to
play at a major in front of hometown fans, it’s also
“That’s the challenge of playing at home,” Stricker
said. “You have to try to put all that extra pressure …
you’ve got to deflect it somehow, I guess, is what I’m
trying to say. It’s hard to do because you’re hearing it
on every hole, every shot and you want to play well.”
Niebrugge said, “It’s always great to play in front of
family and friends. It’s a little nerve-racking at first,
but once you get going, it’s almost like anything.”
large gallery followed each golfer. Stricker was grouped
with Stewart Cink and Roberto Diaz, while Niebrugge was
grouped with Talor Gooch and Kevin Dougherty. Throughout
Stricker’s and Niebrugge’s rounds, they were greeted
with large ovations.
Stricker made a birdie on No. 18, the packed grandstands
erupted with a near-deafening cheer.
week’s championship is only the third tournament
Stricker has played in Wisconsin since the former
Since then, he’s played in the 2010 and 2015 PGA
Championships at Whistling Straits, near Sheboygan.
over the years I’ve gotten a lot better managing that,”
Stricker said about the crowd’s support. “When I first
played the GMO, that was the hardest thing. You just
felt like you’re letting everybody down when you’re not
Niebrugge has played on some of golf’s biggest stages,
including the 2014 Masters, and the 2015 and 2016 Open
Championships. At the 2015 British Open, he was the low
amateur, finishing tied for sixth.
Niebrugge won the 2011 State Open at Blackwolf Run in
Kohler when he was 17 years old, becoming the youngest
champion in the event’s modern era.
Wisconsinites were nearly paired together for today’s
third round. Instead, they will be in back-to-back
pairings, with Niebrugge and Ryan Brehm teeing off at
9:10 a.m. and Stricker, along with Shane Lowry, at 9:21
“Yeah, that would be awesome,” Niebrugge said of a
potential Sunday pairing. “I’m sure I’d enjoy the walk.”
the championship does finish, Stricker will continue his
memorable month when he hosts the second annual PGA Tour
Champions American Family Championship at University
Ridge near Madison from June 23-25.
year, Stricker is eligible to play. The minimum age for
a PGA Tour Champions event is 50.
was unbelievable, the amount of support we got from the
community,” Stricker said of last year’s inaugural
tournament’s aim is to help raise money for several
charities, including the Steve Stricker American Family
Insurance Foundation, the American Family Children’s
Hospital and The First Tee of South Central Wisconsin.
had a crowd there like a regular tour event,” he added.
“Hopefully it’s only going to get bigger and better.”
Niebrugge’s next shot:
Homestead graduate ready to make cut at latest major